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It’s not easy working and living in Luxembourg. We know it. How can we increase Luxembourg’s attractiveness as a place to work for the EU? A perennial question that continues to haunt us in Luxembourg, HR … and in Commissioner Hahn’s cabinet.

Luxembourg may well look rosy and have the highest GDP per capita but it’s a very pricey place to live, especially for rented accommodation where costs can be 50% more (and upwards) than those in Brussels. Moreover, purchase prices go through the roof!

Health costs can be extortionate because we ‘work for the EU’ with costs crippling our health insurance scheme and costing staff more. And in a country with (normally) lower petrol costs and company cars, traffic can be a nightmare, made worse too by cross-border traffic.

Moreover, Luxembourg still perhaps suffers from an image problem, particularly for colleagues in Brussels who may well see life here a little too calm, conservative and materialistic. Perhaps too one could say that for many Brussels colleagues the DGs and work in Luxembourg are not quite their cup of tea: they want to work in a fast-moving policy DG, where promotion can be faster and you feel the EU vibes. 

We at TAO-Luxembourg believe however, that there are ways of turning all of this around. We welcome HR’s initiatives undertaken in the area to increase Luxembourg’s attractiveness as a place to work. We are on the right track, but it’s not an easy one.

Creating a salary coefficient, we know, would be a fair thing to do, in line with the practices for officials working in other Member States. Now is not the time just after the Covid-19 pandemic and now with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis before us. (But we will not forget it when the right moment comes!)

We welcome the plan for an inter-institutional matchmaking platform for jobs and vacancies in Luxembourg. This will help temporary jobholders to better plan their careers and Commission DGs and the other institutions to plan their vacancies better and fill them with a pool of known talent.

Colleagues need to be paid a decent salary for the work they do, at least at comparable rates for workers in other sectors in Luxembourg. Too many staff are employed at the lowest contractual agent levels, which can even fall below Luxembourg’s minimum wage! The case of the PMO is a worrying case in point in this respect.

Teleworking, we believe, will be key to increasing Luxembourg’s attractiveness, especially for colleagues living some distance away from the city or in the surrounding countries. We regret some varied interpretation of the rules at the start of the new system which penalised colleagues at OIL who were limited to two days of teleworking.

We would welcome the right to teleworking days from abroad to be increased from 10 to manage situations where our presence can be welcome. A good example is helping sick or elderly family members. Another good example is seeing a family doctor or a doctor who speaks our language.

What are your ideas about making Luxembourg a more attractive place to work? 

If so, what? Contact us at TAO!

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